As is the case for many areas of science and technology, women are significantly under-represented in technical and leadership positions in the nuclear sector. This lack of gender diversity may have substantial impacts on the future of nuclear energy in NEA member countries and certainly represents a loss of needed talent when the workforce is aging and many experts are nearing retirement. Attracting, recruiting and retaining women in science and technology, as well as enhancing the conditions and prospects for women and girls at every stage of their education and careers, is a challenge for which the NEA supports its member countries. In pursuit of these efforts, the NEA convened an "Exploratory Meeting on Improving the Gender Balance in Nuclear Energy" on 10‑11 December 2019.
The event brought together experts and professionals representing ministries, regulators, TSOs, international organisations from 12 NEA member countries. The participants exchanged information regarding the status of women in the nuclear sectors in their home countries and discussed what practical steps might be taken to address the challenges related to the participation of women in nuclear energy activities. They discussed short‑term efforts to increase the number of women advancing to leadership positions, as well as long‑term strategies to increase and accelerate the participation of women in nuclear field. During his remarks, Director‑General Magwood highlighted NEA initiatives such as NEA Mentoring Workshops and Global Panel of Universities. "We, at the NEA, believe the time is right to support our members by increasing the prominence of gender balance within national and global policy agendas, and finding paths to take substantive action," he said.